The summer months may be drawing to a close, but a Pacific Northwest fall is always a great time to get out on the water – and there’s no better place to go than Anacortes. Besides being a well-known nautical destination, Anacortes offers a wide variety of water sports and activities, such as paddle boarding, fishing, kayaking and swimming. And with organizations like the Anacortes Waterfront Alliance focusing on getting kids out on the water, Anacortes is the perfect place for a family getaway to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall.
Read on for a guide to all the water activities Anacortes has to offer.
Sailing and paddleboarding
For sailing and paddle boarding, look no further than The Anacortes Waterfront Alliance, a non-profit organization that aims to develop the maritime community in the region, notably by offering programs for local middle and high school students.
The AWA offers hourly paddleboard and sailboat rentals on Tuesdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. You can also book a three-hour private lesson on a dinghy or keelboat.
Matt Halliday, director of community boating at AWA, says one of the organization’s most popular activities is âfree sailing,â which takes place Tuesdays and Fridays at 4 pm. For just $ 5, visitors can rent a sailboat or paddle board and get out on the water. âIt’s a pretty cheap way to come and try some things,â says Halliday. âThe paddle board is quite easy, so little experience is needed; it’s just a great opportunity to get out on the water.
When it comes to sailing, more experience is needed, which is why AWA offers sailing courses. Clinics are usually held on Saturdays, but check the âEventsâ section of the AWA website as hours vary. âIf you’ve never sailed before, you can give it a try,â says Halliday. âYou’ll be on the water with experienced sailors so it’s a safe and fun way to learn the basics.â
Halliday says the open sailing and sailing clinic events will continue for as long as the weather permits. He estimates that they will end for the year in late September or even October.
While there are other sailing and paddleboarding spots in Anacortes, AWA stands out for its commitment to involving local youth in water sports and activities. âThose of us who live in the Pacific Northwest are fortunate to be surrounded by water and it can be a great way to recreate ourselves for fun and relax,â Halliday says, noting that many studies have shown that being on the water is beneficial for mental health. He adds that another reason AWA partners with local schools is that there are a lot of maritime jobs in the area, so exposing young people to different water activities – be it sailing, paddle boarding or a motorboat – opens the door to potential future professions. .
Fishing and boat rental
Jolly Mon Charters designs a deep sea fishing experience tailored to a client’s interests. Charter trips, which are all private and can accommodate one to six people, can be adjusted depending on what you’re looking to do, whether it’s focusing on fishing or just enjoying the scenery and wildlife.
âIt’s a great activity to spend time with all ages in your group. It’s never too early to start enjoying boating and fishing and the San Juan Islands are a great place to start, âsays Chris Long, captain at Jolly Mon Charters. âWorld class fishing combined with some of the most beautiful scenery in the world makes this an incredible adventure.â
Long adds that one of the best aspects of fishing trips to the San Juan Islands is the variety of experiences you have. This is a major advantage when members of your group have different interests. For example, Long frequently says that he goes out to groups where one or two members are interested in fishing while the others are happy to spend the trip admiring the beauty of the landscape and seeing amazing wildlife like seals, lions. and even the occasional killer whale.
âThe most exciting part about these trips is that every day is different,â says Long. “You never know what you may encounter or experience, so no matter how many times you go out, it will never be the same.” Long has been working for over two decades and says he always sees something new and never tires of the scenery and the wildlife experience.
Tour groups are small (usually six to eight people) and you can choose from tours that last 90 minutes, three hours, or five hours. The company also offers multi-day trips from Anacortes and takes you to places like Cypress Island and the San Juan Islands.
Anacortes Kayak Tours is also appreciated for its unique and unique experience: the bioluminescent tour, a three-hour kayaking experience that begins just as the sun sets on the new moon. Tours are scheduled for when bioluminescence, the light produced by living organisms, should be most active, creating a magical glow in the water.
Anacortes is also a prime destination for whale watching. Island Adventures Whale Watching Tours from Anacortes last between four and five hours and run from March to October. Private charters are also available year round.
Swimming and beaches
The beaches and lakes are accessible from all sides of Anacortes. One of the more popular beaches is Sunset Beach, which includes a playground and is a good option for families.
Located in a small cove on the southwest corner of Fidalgo Island, Rosario Beach is particularly stunning in summer due to the blooming wildflowers and the diversity of marine life. Also be sure to explore the tidal pools.
If you fancy a swim, Long shared an insider tip: There are many small lakes scattered around Fidalgo Island. âIf you are up for a short hike, you will find yourself in a beautiful, quiet, pristine part of Anacortes. These lakes will warm up just enough in the summer to swim in them, âhe says. “You can also find some fish throws from the shore.” Trail maps are available at the Anacortes Tourist Information Center at the Chamber of Commerce.
Anacorts offers everything from casual cafes to stylish restaurants, quirky boutiques to sophisticated boutiques, art galleries to antique shops and unique accommodations. Anacortes has something for everyone: whale watching tours, kayaking tours, sailing, boating, bird watching, fishing, crabbing, hiking, biking and more.